Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Wind Ensemble

Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Wind Ensemble2020-02-18T01:43:26+00:00

Project Description

Saxophone Quartet and Wind Ensemble 
33 minutes

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Illinois State University Symphonic Winds, Stephen Steele, cond.

live recording

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Solo SSx | Solo ASx | Solo TSx | Solo BSx | Picc Fl-2(2»AFl) Ob-2 BbCl-3 BCl CBCl Bsn-2(2»Cbsn) SSx ASx TSx BSx | Hn-2 Tpt-2(1»Picc) Tbn-2 Euph Tuba DB | Pno Timp Perc-4

  • Solo Soprano Saxophone
  • Solo Alto Saxophone
  • Solo Tenor Saxophone
  • Solo Baritone Saxophone
  • Piccolo
  • Flute (2) (2 doubles Alto Flute)
  • Oboe (2)
  • Clarinet in B♭ (3)
  • Bass Clarinet in B♭
  • Contra Bass Clarinet in E
  • Bassoon (2) (2 doubles Contrabassoon)
  • Soprano Saxophone
  • Alto Saxophone
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • Horn in F (2)
  • Trumpet in B♭ (2) (1 doubles Piccolo Trumpet)
  • Trombone (2)
  • Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • Double Bass
  • Piano
  • Timpani
  • Required Percussion (4 players) 
    • Marimba
    • Tam-tam
    • Bass Drum
    • Crotales
    • Vibraphone
    • Suspended Cymbal (lg.)
    • Temple Blocks
    • Orchestra Bells
    • Xylophone
    • Crash Cymbals
    • Chimes
    • Tenor Drum
    • Tom-tom
    • Triangle (1 sm., 1 lg.)
For wind ensembles and concertos, please use one player per part. For symphonies and concert pieces, more players may be used as desired. David’s full statement.


  1. Inward
  2. Moving, assertive
  3. Dramatic/motoric


The Concerto is in three movements, with a duration of approximately 33 minutes. It is for a one-on-a-part ensemble of 24 winds and brass, plus double bass, piano, timpani, and four percussionists.

The first two movements are somewhat parallel in nature. Both have a “seeker” quality, starting and ending very intimately, but discovering an issue of great emotional and spiritual intensity. The third movement begins in the same mode, but quickly reveals itself to be an energetic dance movement with patterning and melodic unfolding reminiscent of the Baroque. This movement is engagingly good natured, and by turns jolly, mysterious, fierce, and triumphant.

Program Note

For a period of time in the past year my musical listening was intently focused on the keyboard concertos of J.S. Bach. The invention of the keyboard concerto is attributed to Bach. His pieces in this genre are small musical gems, finding an exquisite balance of feeling, technique, and form. It is the element of balance that intrigues me the most – letting the music speak what it needs to as economically as possible.

My Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Wind Ensemble reflects some of these values. It is not programmatic – no stories to tell beyond what the music wants to say, and what it sparks in each listener. The three movements are substantial but concise. The solo quartet is often integrated into the accompanying group in the fashion of a Baroque Concerto Grosso.

Two Chorale melodies appear in the Concerto, We Should Now Praise Christ, and Only Trust in God to Guide You. I have used Chorale melodies in my music for many years. These melodies open something deep in me. The Chorales have transformed my composing, and my composing has absorbed and transformed the Chorales. My use of the Chorales is not about preaching the Christian faith, but feeling the full power of melodies that have grown out of the Earth, and through centuries of human experience. They have been my doorway to the roots of our musical language.

– David Maslanka

Further Reading